Recently the report that 36.3 per cent of Nigerian citizens residing in Cross River State are living in abject poverty, took Nigerians by surprise. This is mostly because Cross River has in the past generated high revenue through tourism and is one of Nigeria’s top tourist destinations.
Poverty in the state has partly been attributed to the high number of low income earners which is a threat to businesses in the state, as very few persons can afford three square meals a day on earnings of less than N1000 per day.
The implications also means that federal government would have issues with collection of tax, a major source of revenue for infrastructural development.
However, federal government has decided to take the bull by the horns through its partnership with the World Bank to initiate the Rapid Response Register (RRR) an initiative which was recently flagged off in Calabar to give succour to the vulnerable and very low income earners residing in the state.
The State Commissioner, Ministry of International Development Corporation Agency, Dr, Inyang Asibong says urgent steps need to be taken to reduce the 36.3 per cent poverty index from double digit to single digit like in some developed countries of the world, so that life can be comfortable for citizens of the state.
State Coordinator for National Social Safety-Net And Coordinating Officer, Chris Anake, who is also the state’s coordinator for COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus, adds that with the RRR initiative of the federal government several in the state especially those residing in areas that are not easily accessible across the three senatorial districts of the state are already being lifted out of poverty.
He says that under the Youths Empowerment And Social Support Operation (YESSO) poverty has been fought with over 300,000 beneficiaries enlisted and paid in different sums, with some who received N7000 in public works per month and were paid for 10 months.
According to him, it’s the reason why federal government through his office, asked the state government to relax taxes on farmers, attracting intervention from NGOs and foreigners to assist in bringing down the poverty index in the state.
Apart from that, 12,000 individuals across the 18 Local Government Agencies of the state under another of its components called cash transfer had been receiving 10,000 each every two months to sustain themselves as they fall in the category of underprivileged.
In her remark, a financial expert Mrs Violeta Ajom sues for cooperation of all in this fight against poverty, calling for enumerators to embark on visits to areas not easily accessible for collection of data.
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